Lok Sabha Amends Forest Act; Bamboo Not A 'Tree' Anymore
A Bill to exclude bamboo from the definition of 'tree' under the Indian Forest Act was passed by the Lok Sabha on December 20 amid a protest by Opposition members against the promulgation of an ordinance on the matter last month.
Piloting the Bill to amend the Indian Forest Act, 1927, in the Lower House, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Harsh Vardhan said the changes in law would encourage bamboo plantation by farmers.
The Bill permitted felling and transit of bamboo grown in non-forest areas, he said, adding that it would help improve the rural economy. He clarified that bamboo grown on forest lands would continue to be classified as tree, and would be guided by restrictions according to the law.
The Bill, which will replace the ordinance promulgated by the President on November 23, seeks to exempt bamboos grown on non-forest areas from the requirement of permit for felling or transit under the Forest Act.
Observing that bamboo taxonomically is grass, the minister regretted that it took 90 years for the government to correct that anomaly. "Had the legislative changes been made earlier, it would have benefited the country's economy," he said, adding the law hindered the growth of the bamboo industry.
India imported bamboo despite being its second-largest producer after China, and that was the reason for brining the amendment, he said, adding that the ordinance was not promulgated in a hurry and that it had been in the making since 2013.
Several opposition members objected to the promulgation of the ordinance, saying it amounted to bypassing Parliament.
With inputs from Housing News